On September 1, an adult male Bald Eagle was hit by a vehicle in Virginia Beach. The eagle was banded as “HK” – a well-known bird in the eagle community. This eagle hatched in 2009 and is a full sibling to Buddy, the Center’s education Bald Eagle, who hatched in 2008. HK has been nesting at the Honey Bee Golf Course in Virginia Beach and is often spotted and photographed in the birding community.
The eagle was taken to a local veterinarian, who examined the bird and stabilized him prior to transport by permitted wildlife rehabilitator Tommy White to the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Dr. Ernesto, along with veterinary student Lauren and visiting veterinarian Dr. Kaleigh, examined HK -- also now known as Wildlife Center patient #17-2257. HK was lying down in the transport crate prior to the exam, but was bright and feisty when restrained for the examination. The team found blood in the eagle’s mouth, indications of internal trauma, and a fracture of the eagle’s right tarsometatarsus near the hock joint. Radiographs confirmed the fracture, and also showed signs of pulmonary contusions [lung bruising]. Dr. Ernesto removed the eagle's silver federal band from the right leg in case of swelling in the days ahead.
The eagle was given fluids, anti-inflammatories, and pain medication and was set up in the Center's holding room. The fracture will need to be surgically repaired next week and is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, September 5.